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World Premiere: Grayceon – “A Road Less Travelled”

L - R: Farwell, Perez Gratz, Doyle; photography by Daryl Darko

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This is the world premiere of “A Road Less Travelled”, from Grayceon’s new album All We Destroy.

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“A Road Less Travelled”

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Even before playing a note, Grayceon are interesting. They are a trio of drums, guitar, and cello. Guitarist Max Doyle does not use a pick. Cellist Jackie Perez Gratz is the main vocalist. Two-thirds of the band performs sitting down.

Their associations are formidable. Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell are in the vastly underrated, thrashy band Walken. (Doyle is the only guitarist I’ve known to play thrash without a pick.) Perez Gratz is the cellist of choice for metal’s underground. She has played for Neurosis, Cattle Decapitation, Amber Asylum, and Giant Squid, among others. The intro track on Agalloch’s Marrow of the Spirit was her composition and performance.

Grayceon’s sound does not fit into boxes. It spans prog, doom, chamber rock, neo-folk, and other inadequate terms. Perez Gratz’ cello and Doyle’s finger-picking offer fascinating textural combinations. Sometimes she drones and he jangles; sometimes they join forces for a spiky, spiccato-and-palm-muted attack. Doyle does everything a pick player does. He chugs, carves out pinch harmonics, and picks clean tones with clarity. Fingers can be more expressive than picks (see, e.g., Albert Collins, Mark Knopfler), but metal-wise Doyle may be in a league of one.

All We Destroy comes out a month from today, March 1, on Profound Lore. (You can hear “Shellmounds”, another track from it, here.) On February 11th, Grayceon will play a record release show at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. (Worm Ouroboros and Hollow Mirrors will open.) All paying entrants will receive a free CD of All We Destroy. Grayceon will play at SXSW this year – see dates here.

— Cosmo Lee

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